Painting over a lead paint staircase can be a daunting and scary task, especially if you haven’t had much experience renovating before.
As you may well know, sanding lead paint can be very dangerous; there are a lot of harmful toxins in old lead paint (what were those vintage-people thinking, hey?!) you don’t want to release.
HOW TO IDENTIFY LEAD PAINT WITHOUT A KIT
The first question you might be thinking is ‘how do I know if it’s lead paint?’ Well, if your home was built before 1978, it’s safe to presume there is lead in the paint.
Can you see layers and layers of old paint? Was your house built before the 70s? It’s probably lead paint.
My partner and I moved into our first home together, a typical Victorian ‘doer-upper’ if ya will, and got to work on it pretty quickly.
We had no idea what we were doing, but we knew what we (I) wanted – a painted staircase just like the ones we’d seen on Instagram.
After a few YouTube videos and a phone call with my Dad, aka: the fountain of all knowledge, we got to work on sanding. We knew something wasn’t right when the sand paper started sparking and there was an unpleasant burning smell.
After putting two and two together, we realised what we’d discovered – lead paint. Yes, initially, I did panic.
HOW TO SAFELY REMOVE LEAD PAINT FROM STAIRS
If I were to do it all over again, I’d use a paint stripper and safely remove the paint, however, you can (as I did) seal the paint with a modern paint and a good primer.
HOW TO PAINT OVER A LEAD PAINT STAIRCASE SAFELY
If you can, remove any peeling paint and dispose of safely.
Tip: wear protective equipment, don’t cross contaminate to the rest of the house and clean the area well after.
I’m an over-excited decorator, I absolutely live and breathe it, so I’ve painted my staircase quite a few colours (I’m ashamed to admit). And I can safely say, from experience, the more layers of new paint, the better.
You’ll want to use an acrylic primer first, this ‘Leyland Trade Undercoat’ is the one I’ve used and I love it. Once a couple of coats of this is down, you can give the top layer a very light key.
Next, use a good-quality paint in whichever colour you fancy, keying in-between each layer.
To finish, as many coats of varnish as you can handle. This ‘Ronseal Diamond Hard’ floor varnish has given me great results.
When it comes to painting over old lead painted stairs, you might not be able to achieve the ‘perfect’ finish, but if this is the best option for you then the key to getting the best finish is lots of layers. You want to make sure the lead paint is well and truly covered.
Keep painting ’till you’ve no paint left or until you’ve lost the will to live – whichever comes first!
Still confused about which paint to use? Read this article here: The Best Staircase Paint To Inject Some Colour Into Your Home